The result? The Grizzlies go down into Houston and roll to a 102-93 victory for their sixth win in seven games. Here's my three takeaways from the win over the Rockets:
1) Jeff Green Was Awesome Again
It is an eternal debate. One that will stand the test of time. It's a war that rages day in and day out throughout the streets of the once friendly neighborhood we call Grizzlies Twitter. This one single question has ripped apart friendships. It splits families right down the middle.
Does Jeff Green suck or not?
I'm not ready to say anything definitively in either direction, but here lately it seems a lot more likely that he doesn't. Green has had some of his best games of the season recently, going off for 19 points or more three times since November 15th entering tonight's contest, in which he scored 20 on 5-10 shooting from the floor and 10-10 from the free throw line.
The Memphis Flyer's Kevin Lipe brought up an interesting point on Twitter during the game, saying that Green's improved play could be correlated with Zach Randolph's absence from the lineup due to injury. It makes sense. Memphis has certainly been playing faster without Z-Bo in there to slow the offense down.
Green has benefited from the space created by Z-Bo's absence. https://t.co/h0QM72S0mY— Kevin Lipe (@FlyerGrizBlog) November 26, 2015
I'm not yet at the point where I'm going to suggest something crazy like "The Grizzlies are better without Z-Bo!" But it's something very interesting to keep an eye on, and especially so if it helps Jeff. Memphis has been far more successful this season when Green plays well, going 7-0 when he scores in double figures and 2-7 when he doesn't.
2) James Harden Went Supernova
"Houston Rockets used HARDEN"
"It's super effective!"
James Harden was just completely ridiculous. He did so many James Harden things. That phrase can have so many different meanings depending on your opinion of him, and I'm willing to bet that just about all of them were accurate at some point tonight.
He hit crazy jumpers. He eurostepped through people. He went 11-11 from the free throw line. And yes, I know you've all been waiting for this one, he did flop at least a couple of times. This was the peak James Harden experience.
He finished with 40 points, five rebounds and five assists, and love him or hate him, he played insanely well and the Rockets really would've had no chance if he didn't. It would've been a laugher.
3) The Mario Chalmers Streak Continues
Memphis without Mario Chalmers: 3-6
Memphis with Mario Chalmers: 6-1
The Grizzlies won again to improve their record since the trade, but overall this was a pretty quiet game out of Mario. He had a solid first half, but then trailed off afterwards, wrapping up with six points and five assists in 23 minutes.
He had one pretty nice highlight in the first half, when he caught the ball on the 2-on-1 fast break, used a slight hesitation and a head fake to make it look like he was going up for the layup, and the instead went under the basket for the reverse, making Trevor Ariza look totally goofy in the process.